I had fallen in love with them instantly. I knew I shouldn’t have taken the short-cut through the market-place that Sunday morning after church, but it was raining and so much quicker. I sheltered under the canvas awning of the shoe shop Bailey’s & Sons waiting for the rain to stop and it was then that I saw them.
The window was packed-full of footwear. Brown calf-skin brogues like my teacher wore. Sensible lace-ups, strappy sandals, even tiny shoes for baby’s first steps. Ballet shoes of the palest pink satin stood on a silver box neighbours to homely-tartan slippers just like Grandma’s. But it was the ones that stood high up at the back…on the right handside that had captured my heart. Wellington boots! They were tall, pristine, black and shiny. Upright sticks of liquorice. So proud and glossy they looked like they were already wet with from the heaviest of downpours. Oh how I longed for them. I could just make out the price tag by narrowing my eyes and squinting as I stood on tip-toe. 39 and sixpence. I lowered by heels I sighed. Some quick mental arithmetic made me realise. even if I saved my pocket money for the next 3 months it wouldn’t be enough. I did have 2/6 in my china pig at home ..hmmm still not enough.
I stood there transfixed for a few minutes. Then I had a brainwave. My birthday! It was on the 6th of next month. Just 3 weeks away. I could suggest, request, plead with my Mum maybe? I turned, pulled up the hood of my jacket and ran home at top-speed, splashing puddles, water squelching with every hopeful step. I had something important to ask Mum.
My mother use to tell me a story about how she loved a pair of shiny wellington boots she had seen in a shop window when she was a child. I have adapted the story and tell it here.